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Beekeepers Swarm on Gormanston as Doyle Opens Annual Beekeeper's Summer School

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D welcomed close to 700 participants from Ireland and abroad to the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations 71st Annual Beekeeper’s Summer School, which is currently taking place in Gormanston Co. Meath. 

Opening the Summer School Minister Doyle praised FIBKA’s contribution to the development of beekeepers’ skills and acknowledged the important role played by bees as both pollinators for agricultural and horticultural crops and the important role of bees in the maintenance of eco systems. Highlighting the National Pollinator plan the Minister stated that ‘Good progress is being made on the actions set down for agriculture under the 2015-2020 All Ireland Pollinator Plan.  The farming guidelines under the plan are currently being developed and will benefit all pollinators including honeybees’.

The Minister continued by highlighting the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s current call for Research Proposals across a number of thematic areas.  He outlined two areas of particular relevance to the Irish beekeeping community. The first topic invites research proposals to mitigate the potential impacts of pesticide use on terrestrial ecosystems including pollinators.  The second topic seeks research proposals to help establish the purity of Ireland’s native honeybee population as well as examining mating behaviour, adaptive evolution and the dynamics that support survival of feral Apis mellifera mellifera populations.

Speaking to the beekeepers Minister Doyle stated “This Call for Competitive Research Proposals represents a great opportunity for Irish beekeeping and biodiversity.  In the case of the second topic, collaboration and consultation with Ireland’s National Beekeeping Organisations will be vital to ensure successful delivery of any project that may be funded.”

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine continues to provide a number of other supports for the beekeeping sector including co-funding research under the National Apiculture Programme, provision of grant aid to facilitate capital investments in specialised beekeeping related equipment, support for activities conducted by national beekeeping organisations and provision of a free bee disease diagnostic service.

Catering for all levels from the beginner right up to the experienced beekeeper, the Summer School continues at Gormanston College until Friday and day attendees can pay at the door.  

Notes for editors:

Further details on the FIBKA Summer Course are available at:

Details on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s current competitive call for research proposals are available at:

The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations (FIBKA) has in excess of 3,100 members.  Last year the members over-wintered an estimated combined total of 21,390 honeybee colonies. 

Irish colony strength and honey production is very much influenced by the Irish weather. In addition to honey production bees play an important role in the pollination of food crops as well as plants in the wild.

The National Apiculture Programme is co-funded by the European Commission and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  Through the programme Irish over-winter honeybee colony losses have been monitored for each of the last 8 years as part of the international COLOSS research network which is seeking the identify the factors influencing honeybee colony mortality.

Ireland is considered to possibly have one of the purest remaining strains of the Dark European Honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera.  In the event of a research project being funded in this area it will hopefully establish the genetic composition of Ireland’s honeybee population as well as dynamics associated with survival of pure Apis mellifera mellifera bees.

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 149/2017 (pdf 375Kb) 

Date Released: 30 July 2017